Press Release
November 19, 2010


Senator Edgardo J. Angara called for more industry led partnerships that would expedite the growth of innovation in the fields of Science and Technology (S&T) and Research and development (R&D).

With news that the government will fund up to PhP 200 Billion for infrastructure related Public -Private Partnerships (PPP) projects in 2011, Angara noted that aside from building up physical infrastructure projects, the government needs to cultivate a strong R&D and S&T base for the country.

"With PPP's, our industry leaders can create new funding avenues for projects by partnering with the academe and tapping universities to conduct R&D and train personnel to fit into the workforce seamlessly," said Angara.

Angara, chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), also pointed out two projects that would greatly benefit from PPP's, namely the Industrial Research and Development Institute (IRDI) and the Renewable Energy Research and Development Institute (RERDI) that have been initiated by COMSTE.

"These two projects were conceptualized after studying Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), which is essentially a PPP that conducts R&D for private sector growth. ITRI is one of the key factors why Taiwan was able to achieve economic success," noted Angara.

Taiwan's ITRI has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with COMSTE in February 2009, to aid in the development of the IRDI and RERDI, including training and tech transfer.

Angara said, "by pushing forward with these type of programs we would be able to take the initiative in promoting the growth of R&D and S&T, which would enable us to leapfrog technology and create a better system of innovation."

The establishment of the IRDI is a key recommendation to enable the industry to remain globally competitive. One of the benefits of IRDI would be to set up pre-competitive consortia in chip design, green technology, and bio-electronics, development of software applications and animation.

Chip design will focus on the design of high performance chips locally, and will also include the coordinated efforts of academe and industry to train at least 150 chip designers annually.

COMSTE reports that soon the member universities of the Engineering Research and Development for Technology (ERDT) will have use of Synopsys suite of tools for chip design, which will lower costs for chip development and enable small local industries to become players in the field.

Green technology will begin with the development of smart solar systems, particularly for agricultural applications and rural communities. The effort to create a local solar industry is seen to open avenues for Filipino innovation.

COMSTE is currently working with local solar company First Philec to open a Philippine solar testing facility next month in Batangas. The facility can test different types of solar modules, arrays, and balance of systems components for optimal output in tropical conditions.

The test facility would ideally be a, "clearinghouse of engineering information on price, performance, reliability of state of the art Photovoltaic (PV) components," noted Angara.

Dr. Shigero Niki of Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, who heads their Solar Research and Testing Laboratory, expressed interest in sending PV for testing in the Philippines, noting that a testing facility here would be able to identify the proper engineering and technology for PV arrays and components which would be ideal for tropical conditions. Dr. Janglin Chen of Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) also expressed interest in collaborating with COMSTE as it further develops the solar testing facility.

Angara said that the solar testing facility marks the beginning of the proposed RERDI, which is set to expand the Renewable Energy industry of the country.

Bio-electronics would translate to bringing medical applications such as ECG, blood tests and urinalysis to the remote barrios. This application can also complement related projects such as the creation of medical databases and Telehealth.

The National Telehealth Project, which was initiated by the University of the Philippines, Manila National Telehealth Center (UPM-NTC), is seen as an ideal partnership between healthcare and technology, which would enable doctors to remotely diagnose patients in rural and far-flung communities.

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